Brandon Gurney, Deseret News
Bronson Barron, American Fork
They (the Mustangs) probably have the toughest schedule of anyone this year, but we have to be second. We want to be tested and we’ve made some mistakes, but they’re fixable. —American Fork coach Aaron Behm

AMERICAN FORK – The Herriman and American Fork football teams came into this season with nearly identical plans to prepare for their region opponents.

Play the most-difficult schedules they could create and the let the chips fall where they may.

The dividends were paying much better for the Cavemen Friday night as Bronson Barron threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns to lead American Fork to a 35-14 win, keeping Herriman winless so far.

“They (the Mustangs) probably have the toughest schedule of anyone this year, but we have to be second,” said American Fork coach Aaron Behm. “We want to be tested and we’ve made some mistakes, but they’re fixable.”

Barron made very few mistakes, and his throws to receivers like Chase Roberts, Farrell Dean and Tyler Traveller were too much for Herriman to handle. He completed 14 of 30 passes and was only intercepted once — late in the game.

Roberts had touchdown receptions of 24, 45 and 23 yards. He and Traveller caught their most-important passes in the second quarter when the Cavemen scored twice in a 24-second span and built a 21-7 halftime lead.

“We had too many penalties and a lot of first and 20s that we need to avoid,” Behm said, “but I was happy about the way we converted them.”

American Fork also had a decent running attack as Josh Wernli ran for 70 yards on 12 carries and Scotty Buhler added 38 yards on 10 attempts.

“We haven’t been able to run on Herriman like that ever … ever,” Behm said.

By contrast, Herriman had no passing attack. The Mustangs, who dropped games to Lone Peak, Helix (California) and Bingham to start the season, kept the score close for a while, thanks to a blocked punt that Drake Elliott scooped up and rambled 11 yards for a touchdown.

Herriman had just 42 total first-half yards and 122 for the game. The blocked punt was its lone bright spot until late in the game, when junior quarterback Blake Freeland gained some much-needed confidence. He and running back Conley Eldredge led an 80-yard drive that ended when he connected with Carter Pearce on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 3:51 left.

It was too little, too late, but the score ended a long offensive drought that had lasted since the Mustangs’ season-opener against Lone Peak.

Bruce Smith grew up in Boise and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high school sports articles for the Deseret News.